Friday, 18 December 2015
…besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:28
Paul has listed many things which have come against him during his evangelistic efforts. He has noted trials, punishments, and perils. In concluding this list, he says, “…besides the other things.” The word used here is only found in the NT and only three times. Therefore, its meaning is debated. It can mean “trials which come to me externally,” or it can mean “other things which I haven’t mentioned.” The latter is probably correct.
He has given a long list of trials and yet it is not a full and complete list. He has simply highlighted some of the events which he has faced. Along with those many external trials, he also faced, as he says, “…what comes upon me daily.” The phrase here has a much stronger force in the Greek. The word indicates “that which rushes upon me.” It is like an overwhelming tide. Specifically, he says it is “my deep concern for all the churches.”
Paul carried with him the constant concern for those he had led to Christ. He wrote them letters, prayed for them, and carried the burden of their staying close to Christ or departing onto a wayward path. The mental pressures he faced were probably even more debilitating than the physical trials. These mental pressures rushed upon him as if an unstoppable tide at times as he struggled in his heart for his beloved children in the faith.
The Bible scholar Farrar remarks on verses 23-28 saying that it is “the most marvelous record ever written of any biography; a fragment beside which the most imperiled lives of the most suffering saints shrink into insignificance, and which shows us how fractional at the best is our knowledge of the details of St. Paul’s life.”
Life application: Do you carry the burden in your heart for those who have come to Christ in your life, but have then fallen away? Do you have a desire to see the immature in the faith grow into maturity? Such things should be at the forefront of our hearts and prayers as we bring these burdens to God. Remember those around you as you speak to Him, lifting them up along with all of the other physical needs of others that are so commonly prayed for.
Lord God, let us carry in our hearts the burden of seeing those around us come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Help us to not be cold concerning the plight of the unsaved. And also of importance are those who are weak or misdirected in their faith. Grant us the desire to lift them up in prayer, remembering their need for growth and proper doctrine. Each of us is on a different level, and so help us to consider those who need such strengthening. To Your glory, Amen.